See more of Kevin's blog posts here.
OK let me just drop my little disclaimer in here first: I am not a developer or property investment expert by any stretch of the imagination, but rather an apprentice (1st year at that). I am in this space because with retirement fast approaching and the thought of a candle at night and dry biscuits to eat scares the hell out of me!
I will endeavour to step you through my current projects and what I am learning along the way to hopefully reduce your exposure to some of the pain I have endured and make the process a little faster.
Let me just paint the picture quickly; divorced, 15 yrs till retirement (fingers crossed); no current investments yet (but watch this space!!!), a daughter (not living with me), a girlfriend (or a gf for those of you under 25).
I have learnt that although I don’t know everything it doesn’t matter - the important part is actually doing something and to move beyond the ‘gonna’ to the ‘doing’. It is soooo easy to occupy the ‘gonna’ space and to read, attend seminars, talk to friends etc. What happens is you end up as the expert of everything having done nothing (key point - set yourself an actual timeline). I now have learnt to qualify my information sources by first asking, "And, what have you accomplished?" It sure stops the proliferation of stories about how smart they are.
I have to say I attacked this on a number of fronts having suffered through many uni classes and assignments (yawn). I know it’s all about accessing a number of credible information sources that confirm each other, which then take you in the right direction.
I started with this magazine as it covered actual real life stories (amateurs), professional advice from experienced experts and the latest info on the property market (crucial). This got me thinking about what is possible as opposed to what was more of my nirvana (of course this all goes in the bin the day I win lotto).
The first decision was to jump in boots and all to the SMSF (Self Managed Super Fund) arena. I had nearly $200k sitting there slowly being eaten away year after year by fees etc with the government also trying to take my little pile of money away from me.
Once I actually made the decision I started seeking out advice from friends, work colleagues that had already successfully done it, reading numerous articles and speaking to both a financial expert (with a lot of SMSF experience) and an actual SMSF company (yes people that explain everything & do all the paperwork for you).
By the way, for me it was the best decision I have made to date but more on this a little later. The other thing I did was to look at my network of friends. I soon realised that I had a lot of people that either worked or had contacts in this area.
Another key point is to use your network or start to develop one quickly. Contact estate agents, your accountant (a great source of info as they know who is making or losing money), or just reach out to some experts. These people are usually quite approachable and when they see you are eager to learn and wanting to get into property investing they will hook you up with their contacts.
Through a friend of a friend, I got a name and sat in a car with him just chatting and going around watching them manage a number of property deals. When I felt comfortable, I asked him to have a look at my house and make some suggestions and from those I further qualified the advice through some agents and developers. I was finally off and running!
Today I am currently doing a small reno on my small fully mortgaged house. I guess I would have about $60k in equity and a face lift to do in order to squeeze the best price out of it before moving onto an investor’s development project.
From here you should have some idea about me. I will take you through my SMSF setup and investment and my reno and sale and hopefully on to my development project later. As we skip, hop and fall through this journey, I will throw out some tips which you can either keep of discard. As this is the first time doing this please bear with me, as I will (hopefully) get better at this. I will also recap some key points at the end.
My 3 points here are:
- Move from a learner to a doer (don’t get stuck in the ‘gonna’ phase) and set yourself goals with dates
- Qualify your sources by cross referencing their advice to fine tune to your situation
- Use your network of friends; contacts etc to find people that can help you along this journey. Never stop developing contacts as this is critical
OK, I’ll wrap this up now and fill you in next time...
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Recently divorced and just about 15 years from what he had thought would be his retirement age, Kevin is afraid he won’t be ready. But he’s now doing something about it, and aiming to use his passion for property to help him get back on track. He is starting from zero after giving up the two investment properties he had bought with his ex-wife, but he has big plans ahead as he strikes out on his own.
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